How to skip the security check line at Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 is currently trialling Heathrow Timeslot, an online service that reserves your place in the security check line ahead of time.

London Heathrow is the largest of six international airports servicing the UK capital. In 2021, 19.4 million passengers transited through the terminal, an average of 128,178 per day. In 2023, the annual Visit Britain tourism forecast predicts London will welcome 37.5 million visitors. That’s a lot of people waiting to be processed through security. In response, Heathrow Airport is trialling a new online service that allows passengers to reserve a place in the security check line ahead of time.

“Everyone is familiar with airport security, but at Heathrow, we’re constantly thinking of innovative ways to boost the safety and streamline the experience for our passengers,” says Mark Powell, operational planning director at Heathrow. “This new trial will give passengers that extra added bit of certainty and reassurance ahead of their journey and we think it will be particularly popular for those with families or nervous travellers who may want a bit more confidence in their journeys. We look forward to seeing the data come in to give us some learnings on how we can roll this out more widely across Heathrow.”

London tube sign directing to heathrow airport
© Unsplash/John Cameron

Heathrow Timeslot 

Heathrow Timeslot is an online portal that allows passengers to reserved a specific time for their pre-flight security check. This free service is available to solo travellers or those in groups of up to five. The reserveration can be made up to three days prior to the date of departure, and the latest available timeslots will be 90 minutes before long-haul flights and 60 minutes before short-haul flights. Passengers can arrive 15 minutes before or after their scheduled time. However, Heathrow Timeslot is currently only available to passengers travelling on select airlines via Terminal 3 for the next six months. Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Emirates and Delta flights are currently included in the trial, but more may join. 

inside economy class plane cabin
© Unsplash/ Gerrie van der Walt

How does Heathrow Timeslot work?

Any passengers travelling through Terminal 3 on eligible flights may use Heathrow Timeslot. Visit the booking page, which is hosted by partner provider, CLEAR platform, to reserve a timeslot. Passengers don’t need to register, just enter an email address and flight details. An email confirmation containing a QR code will be sent to passengers. Once check-in and bags are dropped, follow signs to the Heathrow Timeslot area. A staff member will scan the QR code and direct passengers to the security lane where your boarding pass will be scanned – and you’ll zip through the security check. 

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